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What happened when I helped someone

Ernman

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First a shout out to @Andy Black for suggesting I post this and was the inspiration for what happened.

Back in April I read a post by Andy on how to navigate the forum. I liked it so much I sent him some rep points to say thanks. In Andy's response he asked a simple question that proved profound for me. "Who can you help?" His response included a link to a recorded conversation about the value of just helping someone. Those who have read either TMF or UNSCRIPTED will recognize this from the books as well. Here's what happened:

At the time I was committed to leaving my job and the slow lane. I was narrowing in on an idea that I believed made CENTS, even had some soft feedback suggesting the value. BUT - I was starting to doubt myself. A well paid executive, member of the company's senior leadership team, and fresh off winning a contract worth over $100MM per year for the next five years (for the company that is). My wife was afraid of me not having a job and doubt was creeping in. At 60 years old, maybe I should just play it "safe". Maybe I should ignore that FTE, or at least find a way to suck it up.

Serendipity stepped in with Andy's motivation. The senior buyer dropped by my office to ask if I knew of a small biz that could handle a specific component of ours. He knew that in my BD role I was exposed to many small businesses. One of those small biz owners had also reached out to me trying to find their way into defense business. I began to help them both. I didn't just put them in touch with each other, I began helping them understand each other. For the small biz guy, I helped by explaining US government inspection requirements, what pain points to look for, how to maneuver the bureaucracy of a big company purchasing dept., etc. For the senior buyer, I helped by explaining that despite this small businesses NAICS code and lack of a website, they were real and had far more capability than it would appear. I knew this from my first hand visits to their facility and meeting them over time. Despite having my own deadlines and challenges at work, I put in extra time to help bring these two together.

That small biz owner had their first article inspection yesterday. I can't tell you how many times he called to go over his preparations. Yesterday, he call me as he was leaving the facility, excited by his successful first article inspection. The company QA people told him he was the only one of three bidders that demonstrated he knew how to make this component. The hit list included some minor recommendations, but the buyer told him she'd prepare a purchase order for the first lot within the next couple days and could he deliver before the end of the year. For the small biz this means over $1MM top line revenue every year for the next five years. For the community another 6+ people have jobs - doesn't sound like much, but for their community it's big. For the big company - they have a new HUB zone small biz, a much needed step in government small biz compliance goals. Not to mention a good vendor they can rely on.

But there was intangible gold in this for me - it removed my doubts. I confirmed the need and identified some tools for solving the challenges. I shared what I was doing with my wife and, although still nervous, she is now supportive. The small biz owner has committed to being my first customer when my company is up and running. And, now that I've left the company, the senior buyer wants to put me under contract as a consultant for future assistance.

It also just felt good. And there's nothing wrong with that.

How many of you received a similar question from @Andy Black ? What happened when you helped someone?
 

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Andy Black

Any colour, as long as it's red.
Staff member
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First a shout out to @Andy Black for suggesting I post this and was the inspiration for what happened.

Back in April I read a post by Andy on how to navigate the forum. I liked it so much I sent him some rep points to say thanks. In Andy's response he asked a simple question that proved profound for me. "Who can you help?" His response included a link to a recorded conversation about the value of just helping someone. Those who have read either TMF or UNSCRIPTED will recognize this from the books as well. Here's what happened:

At the time I was committed to leaving my job and the slow lane. I was narrowing in on an idea that I believed made CENTS, even had some soft feedback suggesting the value. BUT - I was starting to doubt myself. A well paid executive, member of the company's senior leadership team, and fresh off winning a contract worth over $100MM per year for the next five years (for the company that is). My wife was afraid of me not having a job and doubt was creeping in. At 60 years old, maybe I should just play it "safe". Maybe I should ignore that FTE, or at least find a way to suck it up.

Serendipity stepped in with Andy's motivation. The senior buyer dropped by my office to ask if I knew of a small biz that could handle a specific component of ours. He knew that in my BD role I was exposed to many small businesses. One of those small biz owners had also reached out to me trying to find their way into defense business. I began to help them both. I didn't just put them in touch with each other, I began helping them understand each other. For the small biz guy, I helped by explaining US government inspection requirements, what pain points to look for, how to maneuver the bureaucracy of a big company purchasing dept., etc. For the senior buyer, I helped by explaining that despite this small businesses NAICS code and lack of a website, they were real and had far more capability than it would appear. I knew this from my first hand visits to their facility and meeting them over time. Despite having my own deadlines and challenges at work, I put in extra time to help bring these two together.

That small biz owner had their first article inspection yesterday. I can't tell you how many times he called to go over his preparations. Yesterday, he call me as he was leaving the facility, excited by his successful first article inspection. The company QA people told him he was the only one of three bidders that demonstrated he knew how to make this component. The hit list included some minor recommendations, but the buyer told him she'd prepare a purchase order for the first lot within the next couple days and could he deliver before the end of the year. For the small biz this means over $1MM top line revenue every year for the next five years. For the community another 6+ people have jobs - doesn't sound like much, but for their community it's big. For the big company - they have a new HUB zone small biz, a much needed step in government small biz compliance goals. Not to mention a good vendor they can rely on.

But there was intangible gold in this for me - it removed my doubts. I confirmed the need and identified some tools for solving the challenges. I shared what I was doing with my wife and, although still nervous, she is now supportive. The small biz owner has committed to being my first customer when my company is up and running. And, now that I've left the company, the senior buyer wants to put me under contract as a consultant for future assistance.

It also just felt good. And there's nothing wrong with that.

How many of you received a similar question from @Andy Black ? What happened when you helped someone?
Thanks for writing this up. It’s a great story, and so much fell into place just by trying to help people. Well done!
 
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OP
Ernman

Ernman

Silver Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Feb 8, 2019
472
883
308
60
Florida, USA
Love this. I recommend you read Give and Take by Adam Grant if you haven't already. It's exactly about what you're describing.
Thank you, I'll put it on my read list.
 

Andy Black

Any colour, as long as it's red.
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
8,702
36,758
4,306
Ireland

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